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Czech Roma in the News
August 24th, 1998

Ladislav Balaz, a Romany who closely cooperated with the government's special commission for minorities' issues has reportedly arrived in Great Britain with his family and asked for asylum status. Balaz, who is said to have an excellent mediator between Romanies and government representatives said he had been receiving a great deal of hate mail and no longer wished to put his family at risk.

Since the 17th of August, the Summer School for International Dialogue and Understanding has been taking place in Prague. It is the 6th year the School has been organized by the Helsinki Citizens Assembly.The Helsinki Committee of the American Congress heavily criticised the Czech Republic for its alleged discrimination against its Gypsy or Roma minority.

Identity, Minorities and Conflict - that is the sub-title of this year's Summer School which is taking place at Prague's club Lavka. Nearly 80 young people, mainly students from 30 different countries have accepted an invitation from the Helsinki Citizens Assembly to take part.

Maegon Barlow, the coordinator of the project said, the idea was to bring young students and NGO workers from all over Europe to spend 10 days together and learn from each other. The participants do not only attend lectures. There is also an interactive programme prepared where they work together and listen to one another.

According to Barlow the real advantage of the school is that there are not only participants from different countries, but also young Roma students from former Yugoslavia, Greece and Balkan countries. The programme, which lasts until August 27th, also includes trips and film showings related to minority issues.

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